Does this Adagio sound professional?
I practiced and subsequently recorded the Bach Adagio in G Minor today with the intention of seeing if I could get a "professional" sound.
I then tried to upload the file to Soundcloud and in a hilarious bout of irony, they kept deleting the file because their algorithm thought it was just a copy of a copyrighted recording of the same piece by Anna Gockel.
Anyways, I ended up just uploading to Youtube instead.
Let me know if it sounds professional, and if not, why not? I'm aware there are a couple of mistakes in there, and unfortunately the thing about recordings is mistakes stick out significantly more because you hear the same ones every time you listen back. But whatever. Professionals also have this setback, so it's apples to apples (of course this was only my 2nd take, so if I really wanted to clean it up I'd do more!). I also didn't do cut-and-paste.
Now that the excuses are out of the way:
This does not sound like a professional recording. It sounds like you're recording in a small room, with a hard wall behind you. Did you add reverb? It sounds a bit funny. I think because your microphone is a bit too far away as well.
I don't think that the sound is problematic for YouTube. It's not equivalent to engineered CD quality, but it doesn't need to be as a sample.
Sounded great to me. The playing was better than the production.
Unfortunately, my new setup isn't great for recording (for reasons I'm too lazy to explain). I can't easily fix it because of aesthetic reasons in my studio.
Lydia, most dynamics in the recording were actually intentional, rather than an unconscious habit. I originally learned the Adagio with more of a "solid wall" of sound, more similar to how I play the chaconne, but found it pretty derivative and boring. Like, I'm not a huge fan of Hilary Hahn's recording, for example, but I'm sure most people would say it is correct.
It's certainly the best playing I have ever heard from you. I would say yes, it sounds professional, but of a certain kind. I've heard "pros" of the local freeway philharmonic variety who did not sound nearly this good. But it would probably not get you an orchestra job. Aside from the occasional intonation issues which you are aware of, there is a certain sameness to your sound. It comes across as extremely well-rehearsed but lacking the sort of artistry or inventiveness that one expects in a high-level musician.
Sounds beautiful to me. If you can’t get an orchestra job with this playing then that is depressing.
Thanks for the comments so far.
It sounds beautiful to me. This is just personal opinion since I have no skills to provide an objective feedback :)
It's nice playing for an amateur. However, it does not sound "professional" to me.
I agree with mr. Deck, and really don't care how it "sounds": i like your playing really a lot.
Erik to me yes this sounds like professional level. Not all professionals are international top soloists, it is not international top soloist level, but to me it sounds definitely professional enough. I think your sound quality including the vibrato, are definitely there. I did hear six or seven places with less than stellar intonation, one point where you audibly ran out of bow, and one smeary shift. But that's it and I think Bach himself would have found your performance quite OK!
For me this is a really interesting discussion. Thank you Erik for your post. I think asking this question is very brave. I'm intrigued by the comments here and your thoughts about 'what is a professional' Not the semantics but when you do sound like a pro and why.
Eric, I think this would be fine as part of a public recital.
I wish I could play like that!
One of the biggest problems with home recording setups is that the devices automatically adjust gain to keep the recording within the dynamic range of the amplifier. Thus, when you go quiet it amplifies you more and when you go loud vice versa. Try as you might to range in dynamics you have lost before you start! Perhaps this is a big reason why Mary noted that it sounds the 'same'.
Eric, thanks for posting it.
This sounds excellent.
I meant a full-time professional orchestra, one in which the full complement of players are paid a living wage or close to one. Apologies for not being clear.
"they must all be world class concertmaster / soloist caliber of violinists, who only ever hang out with world class soloists and really look down on the orchestra players."
Tony wrote, "I am in awe of people who are saying this does not sound professional... they must all be world class concertmaster..."
I find it interesting that a.... "fairly typical orchestra pro' had never included the Paganini 16 in their studies...?
I'm a "fairly typical orchestra pro" who never learned Paganini 16 until it was chosen as one of TMEA's All-State etudes maybe 20 years ago and I had to teach it...I learned it in a hurry then. At conservatory I had studied other Paganini caprices but not #16.
Here's an example. My teacher happens to have a YouTube recording of him performing this at the Paganini Competition, some years ago.
That's great playing. His tone/vibrato is incredible.
Ok, here was my 2nd try today: some things I changed:
Sounds excellent to me. And more relaxed.
Speaking only regarding quality of recording (not at all regarding playing or interpretation):
Well done! Its great - for me it varies a bit too much in tempo so that I loose the musical thread a bit. However, the playing is lovely. Big improvement!
Well; if you are into music and listen a lot, you can nearly always tell the difference. This case seems to be no different.
Ooh I like the second recording a lot. It has much more of that "searching" or "improvised" quality that I like in that piece. Much more sonority and the recording is better too. If you listen to top soloists what you'll hear -- that you don't yet have -- is a commanding, overarching sense of security in their playing. You'll only get there by performing more and working with a teacher/coach who knows how to polish someone who is already quite good. Whichever of the faithful contributors here has been suggesting that is totally right! You've got a real talent -- why not reach for the next level? Is it just the money? Or fear? Both of those are
I've listened to both, and the second version in particular is really very good - though still with scope for improvement. I think extra 'looseness' in the phrasing and the confidence of playing from memory really makes a difference to bringing the music to life. Great job!
Thank you for posting Eric, pleasure to listen!
Paul, I guarantee a recording engineer would be far more bothered by the constant, never-ending traffic noise right outside my house than the faint sympathetic vibrations of the cello and bass in the room :)
The fugue is a real b*tch.
I can actually do a pretty good job if I'm only trying to get through a single page. The 1st, 2nd, or 3rd, it doesn't matter. But to get through all three pages consecutively with minimal enough mistakes to validate a recording will be tough.
Marco, that recording is in a concert hall, and I don't know for certain, but I think done on a casual recording device from a distance.
@Erik: 7 years old and already play the G minor Fugue? That is crazy to think about, wow...
7 years old, Fugue and extreme performance...
Erik - I take lessons every 2-3 weeks, and practice a minimum of 60 minutes a day (more often than not these days it is 90+ minutes). I find it is sufficient enough to slowly get through what I need to in order for lessons to feel "worth it". Now, weekly lessons with my teacher? I would feel that I'd need at least 2hrs of practice a day and I cannot manage that at this time (financially, or with my work-life schedule). Maybe one day in the future I'll be able to, but not now.
Ali K: this 7 year old was/is actually quite happy. She walks/talks confidently and is super well-spoken for her age. My guess is that she doesn't have to be convinced to practice.